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20 Quick and Easy Dinners You Can Cook With 20 Minutes

20 Quick and Easy Dinners You Can Cook With 20 Minutes

After long days at work or ferrying kids to and from play dates, activities and school, I seldom have the time or the energy to figure out dinner. I enjoy cooking for the family but with a never-ending to-do list, the last thing you want to be faced with is: “What’s for dinner?”

I often feel that I need an extra day to get through the week. However, when my daughter was born, I started doing weekly meal plans and it has helped me immensely to put healthy meals on the table — even on days when I was sleep deprived and exhausted. I shop accordingly and it takes the guesswork out of preparing weeknight dinners. I often do part of the preparation on weekends, such as chopping vegetables or making sauces which can be frozen or roasting a whole chicken to use through the week.

So, here are 20 of my favorite speedy, easy, delicious, healthy and child-friendly dinner recipes that I keep handy when planning meals:

1. White Chicken Chilli Soup

Delicious-White-Chicken-Chili-Recipe-on-lilluna.com-chili-soup

    With the weather turning colder, a steaming hot bowl of soup is just the comfort I need after a long, crazy day. Children  enjoy it, though you might want to leave out the green chilies if your family doesn’t like the heat. And what’s more, it’s a one pot recipe which means less washing up! That ticks all the boxes for me.

    2. Veggie Polenta Mini Pizza

    polenta-pizza-420

      This is even quicker if you have pre-made pesto at home. Add toppings of your choice and enjoy a healthy pizza dinner.

      3. 10 Minute Black Bean & Corn Quesadillas

      black bean and corn quessadillas

        I use whole wheat or corn tortillas for quesadillas. Then, I make the filling on a weekend and freeze batches for later use. You can substitute black beans for your preferred protein and add other veggies too. (Red pepper also works well.)

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        4. Easy Chicken and Couscous Skillet Dinner

        Easy-Chicken-and-Cous-Cous-Skillet-Dinner-00

          Couscous cooks quickly so it is a favorite staple of mine for weeknight meals. This recipe uses jumbo or Israeli couscous and rotisserie chicken. Or, you could simply use the leftovers from your Sunday roast.

          5. Tomato, Spinach & Feta Frittata

          tomatofritatta2

            This popular family breakfast or brunch makes a fantastic weeknight dinner option. The thought of salty feta and sweet, juicy tomatoes with the garlicky spinach makes my mouth water. And using a cast iron skillet means it’s a one-pan dish!

            6. Prawn And Spinach Spaghetti

            prawn and spinach spaghetti

              I love this recipe as I have most of these ingredients at home so it’s really handy towards the end of the week when my fridge is almost empty. I use whole-wheat spaghetti and frozen prawns in my version. And if I’ve run out of spinach I just substitute with fresh basil.

              7. Tuna and White Bean Pita

              white bean and tuna pitas

                This super low effort recipe is unbelievably easy. My 4-year-old can make this meal. It is a wholesome and tasty store cupboard recipe that your kids will savor. It involves no cooking, just opening a few cans and assembling your meal.

                8. Salmon Skewers with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

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                salmon_kebabs_07

                  Salmon and cucumber are a classic combination. This recipe can be served with any grain of your choice or a simple salad that you whip up while the salmon is cooking. You can also add some veggies to the skewers.

                  9. Singapore Fried Rice

                  singapore fried rice

                    I love Asian food and this quick fried rice has become a staple in my house because it’s a meal by itself. I usually have cooked leftover rice in the fridge so this is really a quick meal. You do need day old cold rice for it; otherwise, it’ll become soggy and sticky. You can also add leftover chicken or even bacon. Enjoy!

                    10. Super Quick Fish Curry

                    fish curry brown rice

                      Fish is my favorite for quick meals as it’s healthy and takes very little time to cook. I always have a jar of Thai curry paste and coconut milk lying around in my cupboard, so this is a no-brainer, really. You can substitute fish with a protein of your choice. The coconut milk makes it mildly spicy but adds less paste if you want it milder.

                      11. Shells & Cheese (with Bacon & Peas)

                      bacon and peas

                        Children relish Mac and cheese. But on a school night, who has the time to make a batch from scratch? Here is a cheat’s version — no roux, no baking, just pasta in cheese sauce. I add garlic to mine and use low-fat milk and skip the butter. Also, I use whatever cheese I have on hand and whole-wheat pasta — but go ahead and indulge if you like.

                        12. Vegan Sweet Pepper and Mushroom Soba Noodle Stir Fry

                        vegan-sweet-pepper-mushroom-soba-noodle-stir-fry-close

                          I like to have a vegetarian dinner at least twice a week but feel free to add meat of your choice to it. You can use any vegetables you have for this recipe. In fact, it’s a great way to use up vegetables at the end of the week. Leave out the Sambal Olek (spicy chili sauce) if you don’t like spice.

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                          13. Simple Yet Scrumptious Rice And Salmon Pilaf

                          salmon-rice-pilaf

                            I use brown basmati for this recipe and cook it by the absorption method. Many people find cooking rice difficult, but it’s not tough. Remember different varieties of rice need different amounts of water to cook.  For instance, brown rice needs more water than white rice. Use measuring cups and with a little practice you’ll be an expert soon.

                            14. 15 Minute Lasagna

                            20 mins meals1

                              Yes indeed! 15 minutes only. With a few clever shortcuts and all in one pan, dinner is served. Isn’t that just perfect?

                              15. Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps

                              chicken_caesar_salad_wraps

                                I love tortilla wraps because they are so versatile. I use wholemeal tortillas to make these light yet filling wraps. My child loves these for lunch or dinner so this is my “go-to” recipe — especially when we have roast chicken leftovers.

                                16. Arugula Lentil Salad from Heaven (Vegan)

                                arugula-lentil-salad

                                  I love peppery Arugula (rocket). This healthy recipe combines lentils, nuts and rocket in a delightful salad. Add raisins or sultanas if you wish.

                                  17. 20-Minute Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Soup

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                                  20-Minute-Cheesy-Chicken-Enchilada-Soup-6

                                    Nothing beats a warm, creamy, spicy soup on a chilly evening. You can use a ready-made enchilada sauce for this recipe, but I recommend you make one on the weekend and have it ready in the fridge when you fancy some soup. The key to quick meals on weeknights is in planning meals and some simple prep. It really doesn’t require much time on the weekend as cooking and freezing full meals, but will make your life much easier.

                                    18. One-Pan Veggie Fajita Pasta

                                    fajita pasta

                                      We adore fajitas and as I set about making some one evening, I realized the tortillas had gone stale. I had everything prepped already and a quick online search landed me this delightful recipe with pasta instead. Saved by google again! Since then it’s part of our family meals. I use whole-wheat pasta. It’s seriously yummy!

                                      19. Easy 20-Minute Teriyaki Chicken and Broccoli

                                      teriyaki-chicken-broccoli-tablefortwoblog-5

                                        This is a yummy teriyaki sauce recipe. This is a winning combination but by all means feel free to swap the chicken for other protein of your choice and broccoli with your favorite vegetable. Serve it with brown and wild rice or red rice or a combination of the three for a wholesome meal.

                                        20. Sweet Potato Kale and Quinoa Fritters

                                        Kale-Sweetpotatoe-and-Quinoa-Fritters_platter-ready-to-eat1

                                          Loaded with the goodness of kale, quinoa and sweet potato, this recipe is a great way to sneak these super foods into your little ones. Serve with a simple green salad for dinner.

                                          Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanasek via picjumbo.com

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                                          Last Updated on December 9, 2019

                                          5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

                                          5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

                                          Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

                                          Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

                                          Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

                                          1. Get Rationally Optimistic

                                          Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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                                          This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

                                          In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

                                          The result: no more mental stress.

                                          2. Unplug

                                          Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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                                          How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

                                          It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

                                          Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

                                          3. Easy on the Caffeine

                                          Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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                                          Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

                                          4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

                                          That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

                                          How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

                                          • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
                                          • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
                                          • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

                                          While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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                                          5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

                                          This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

                                          The result: mental stress will be gone!

                                          So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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                                          Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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